NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens has announced a trial to support the wider roll-out of artificial pancreas technology across England for people with Type 1 diabetes.
Artificial pancreas systems, sometimes known as closed-loop technology, enable an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor to ‘talk’ to one another, and deliver insulin automatically.
The trial will offer artificial pancreas systems to up to 1,000 people with Type 1 diabetes in around 25 specialist centres across England.
The participants’ data and experiences with the technology will feed into the recently-announced assessment of closed-loop systems by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
JDRF-funded artificial pancreas research, including work at the University of Cambridge led by Professor Roman Hovorka, has been key to development of closed-loop systems. The charity’s research and advocacy have also been central to increases in the availability of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), a core element of hybrid closed-loop technology, on the NHS, with pregnant women winning access from November 2020.
Sir Simon Stevens said: “Living with diabetes is a daily challenge for millions of people across England, and this closed loop technology has the potential to make a remarkable difference to their lives. In a year that marks a century since insulin was discovered – which revolutionised the world of diabetes – this innovation is a prime example of the NHS’s continued progress in modern medicine and technology.”
Professor Partha Kar, NHS national speciality advisor for diabetes, hailed the role of partner organisations such as JDRF in that progress. He said: “This new technology is an extension of the fantastic work achieved by the NHS, third sector and industry partners who are working together to improve the lives of patients.”
Hilary Nathan, Director of Communications and Policy at JDRF added, “We welcome this trial, and we are pleased to see NHS England is focused on England-wide provision of the artificial pancreas. We are determined to see UK-wide availability of life-changing Type 1 diabetes technology options on the NHS.”